Meanings of Work

Considerations for the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Frederick C. Gamst

Subjects: Anthropology
Series: SUNY series in the Anthropology of Work
Paperback : 9780791424148, 277 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791424131, 277 pages, July 1995

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Table of contents

Frederick C. Gamst

1. Considerations of Work
Frederick C. Gamst

2. The Concept of Work in Western Thought
Herbert Applebaum

3. Task Performance and Fulfillment: Work and Career in Tribal and Peasant Societies
Walter Goldschmidt

4. Theories and Meanings of Work: Toward Syntheses
Ivar Berg

5. Work and Technology in Modern Industry: The Creative Frontier
Marietta L. Baba

6. The Web of Rules in Comparative Work Relations Systems
Frederick C. Gamst

7. Post-Industrialism, Post-Fordism, and the Crisis in World Capitalism
June Nash

8. The Contingent Character of the American Middle Class  
Judith R. Blau

9. Processes of Retirement
Robert S. Weiss

10. The Socio-Economics of Work  
Amitai Etzioni



This book examines the fast-changing patterns of work in the global market and the resulting social, cultural, and economic impact on the work force.


Meanings of Work examines interconnected cultural, social, and economic dimensions of human work. It provides an innovating interdisciplinary basis for understanding the fast changing patterns of work in a now globally unitary market, increasingly beset with problems such as contingent employment and decline of the middle class. In concentrating on sociocultural considerations of work, the book includes essays from Herbert Applebaum, Marietta L. Baba, Ivar Berg, Judith R. Blau, Amitai Etzioni, Frederick C. Gamst, Walter Goldschmidt, June Nash, and Robert Weiss.

The authors discuss the scope, utility, applications, and limitations of historical and contemporary theories, analyses, and ideas about the integration of societies through work organizations and their occupational and other social statuses. Also included are the issues of discontent and satisfaction generated by work; the cultural meanings and myths of work; the exercise of power in work; the decision-making process as affected by emotions and values; the social expectations of work and nonwork, including the distinguishing of work from leisure; and the reactions to and processes of retirement from work.

Frederick C. Gamst is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Harbor Campus, where he is associated with its Center for Labor Research. Other books written by Gamst include Peasants in Complex Society; Studies in Cultural Anthropology; Ideas of Culture: Sources and Uses; and The Hoghead: An Industrial Ethnology of the Locomotive Engineer.